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DEVELOPMENT REPORT - December 3, 2001: World Bank-IMF Aid to Poor Nations - 2001-11-30

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The leaders of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have promised to help poor countries whose economies have been hurt by the terrorist attacks in the United States. The two groups held their yearly meeting in Ottawa, Canada last month.

I-M-F Managing Director Horst Koehler and World Bank President James Wolfensohn announced the added assistance in a joint statement. They said that many developing countries will likely need additional international aid because of the economic effects of the attacks. They said their organizations plan to extend current loans and provide more moderate debt-relief terms to many developing countries.

Economic exerts fear the September eleventh terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington will worsen economic problems in developing countries. They are especially concerned about Pakistan and Turkey. Both nations have played an important part in the American-led fight against terrorism. Economists believe Pakistan’s increasing refugee crisis and a drop in exports could create political problems for that government.

Mister Koehler and Mister Wolfensohn say that poor countries will be affected in several ways as the world economy slows. For example, international travel has decreased because of increased security concerns. They say areas that were popular for travelers will likely feel the effects of the terrorist attacks the most. These include areas in the Caribbean, Eastern and South Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East. Private investments in developing markets have also decreased. Also, the slowing world economy has led to weaker exports and a drop in the price of goods, such as coffee, cotton and copper.

Mister Koehler and Mister Wolfensohn believe the number of poor people in the world will also increase because of the terrorist attacks. The World Bank says farmers in Africa and parts of Latin American will be affected the most. It estimates that about ten-million more people will be forced to live on less than one American dollar a day.

Finally, the statement said that rich countries have a responsibility to help developing countries. Both organizations urged industrial countries to increase the amount of money given to I-MF and World Bank efforts in the developing world.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.